Carers come together for 'Stepping Out'

A group of organisations in Essex has come together to deliver an innovative scheme to help carers, and the people they care for, to get active.

Despite pouring rain, 68 people attended the first ‘Stepping Out’ walk at Basildon Sporting Village.

Stepping Out has been created in partnership between Sport for Confidence, Basildon Greenway Ramblers, Active Essex and volunteers from Coach Core, and offers sociable outdoor activities for carers.

There are an estimated 145,000 family carers in Essex so the walks, designed by the Ramblers, cater for every level of capability.

Basildon Sporting Village, where the ‘Sport for Confidence’ sporting and physical activity programme is based, hosted a lunch after the walks.

Sport for Confidence founder Lyndsey Barrett, an occupational therapist, said: “Carers have been identified as a group who are particularly prone to inactivity and often feel socially isolated. Through the provision of these Stepping Out sessions, we are introducing carers to the physical, mental and social benefits of being active.

“Interestingly, a 2017 report entitled ‘Supporting me to be more active’, by the Active Alliance, revealed the activity level of a carer has a direct influence of the activity of the individuals in their care. So, through encouraging carers to be active we hope to positively influences the activity levels of a much wider segment of the community.”

Geoff Forward, of the Basildon Greenway Ramblers, added: “It was so gratifying to see the enthusiasm with which all participants undertook the venture and to see the sense of achievement in overcoming physical and other disabilities to complete the course.”

The next Stepping Out event in Essex will take place in Southend in July, again in partnership with Sport for Confidence, The Ramblers, Active Essex and supported by Coach Core, Action for Family Carers and Carers First.